Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The 229 Year Old Message From Col. George Mason

Permit me to share a very Important Constitutional history lesson with you. The delegates to the Philadelphia Convention (today referred to as the Constitutional Convention) had been going over every section of every article in the final months of the Convention in 1787. 229 years ago, on a Saturday, just two days before the Convention in Philadelphia completed its work, we find a gem in the notes of James Madison, who took extensive notes just about every day of the convention. This item that I refer to as a “gem” is little known and hardly talked about today. On September 15, 1787, George Mason of Virginia (referred to in Madison’s notes as Col Mason), was alarmed that in the text of Article V (the provision for making Amendments to the Constitution), Congress would have sole power to propose amendments; Mason insisted, as he did earlier in June, that the states have authority to call for conventions. Mason explained that an oppressive Congress would never agree to propose amendments necessary to restrain a rogue, tyrannical legislature.

"Col. Mason thought the plan of amending the Constitution exceptionable & dangerous. As the proposing of amendments is in both the modes to depend, in the first immediately, in the second, ultimately, on Congress, no amendments of the proper kind would ever be obtained by the people, if the Government should become oppressive, as he verily believed would be the case.” (See Madison’s notes 15 Sep 1787).

To make sense of that, you must understand that earlier in the summer when the issue of even having an Amendment process was first brought up as a provision in the Constitution, many of the delegates thought it unnecessary. Madison’s notes record the following on June 11th: “Col. MASON urged the necessity of such a provision [Amendments]. The plan now to be formed will certainly be defective, as the Confederation has been found on trial to be. Amendments therefore will be necessary, and it will be better to provide for them, in an easy, regular and Constitutional way than to trust to chance and violence. It would be improper to require the consent of the Natl. Legislature, because they may abuse their power, and refuse their consent on that very account…”.

Then by the time the convention reached its final days in mid September, the Amendment provision had been added as Article V, and the provision had two methods; the national legislature (Congress) could propose Amendments and the states could request that Congress propose specific amendments. However, both methods were left in the hands (power) of the national legislature, that’s what Mason meant when he referred in the first quote above as “both the modes to depend, in the first immediately, in the second, ultimately, on Congress”. Mason had objected to this back in June and now as the convention drew to a close, he rose to his feet to forcefully object with his reasons stated above (“It would be improper to require the consent of the Natl. Legislature, because they may abuse their power, and refuse their consent on that very account”). Madison’s notes of 15 Sept tell us that Mason’s motion was accepted and the language was changed in order to require [mandate] Congress to call a convention upon application of 2/3 of the states.

It is noteworthy to point out that this process does not call for a Constitutional Convention; the language specifies calling a convention for the purpose of “proposing amendments”…to the existing Constitution…it would still require 3/4ths of the states (38) to ratify any amendment proposed in this convention.

We owe George Mason and the other framers a huge debt for this...they had the foresight to understand first of all, that we needed an orderly process in which to amend our Constitution (“regular and Constitutional way than to trust to chance and violence” – Mason 11 June). Secondly we owe them a huge debt for recognizing and understanding the depravity of man and the extremely intoxicating effects of years of power in the hands of the same people (hence a need for term limits) and that these power intoxicated occupants of the United States Congress would “abuse their power, and refuse their consent” (Mason 11 June) to any amendments that would “injure” themselves and return powers never intended for the national legislature or any of the other branches for that matter, they would never take steps to return that power on their own to the rightful owner, the states/people (“no amendments of the proper kind would ever be obtained by the people, if the Government should become oppressive” – Mason 15 Sep).

The least we can do as citizens of this great nation today, citizens that do not seem to want to be bothered with taking the time to understand the underpinnings of their liberty, the least we can do is take the time to understand what the framers of this amazing document did for us. When the framers agreed on September 15th, 1787 to change the text in Article V, they in effect were telegraphing a message to us in 2016, a message to us showing us the way back inside the fence of the Constitution, a way back to what Thomas Jefferson called the “chains of the Constitution”.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Who Do The Article V CoS Opponents Really Stand With?

Keep this in mind when you hear opposition to using the process for the states to offer amendments to the Constitution....those that have any understanding at all of this process recognize that there are two ways under Article V to propose amendments to the United States Constitution: (1) Congress can propose amendments anytime they like (so technically they are in perpetual convention) (2) The states gathered in a called Convention can propose amendments. Either method only produces "proposed amendments", amendments from either vehicle MUST be sent back to all 50 states where 3/4ths (38) states must ratify them for them to become part of the U.S. Constitution.
So keep this in mind, when you are confronted by someone who claims to be on "our side" other words they claim to stand for limited government and the Constitutions original meaning....keep in mind that when you encounter opposition to the 2nd "mode" of are encountering an individual that stands resolutely with the status quo.
The reason I state this is because they hate when I tell them that....they call me a liar...and tell me that "you know that I don't stand with the status quo".....but folks....let me walk through the logic here....if one opposes the mode whereby the states can do what Congress WILL NEVER do....then logically one is standing with the Congress and the Washington D.C cartel as the only means by which we can propose amendments to correct the "abuses" as the founders told us would come. They tell us in their writings that they gave us the 2nd mode that permits the states to act ...specifically as a method for the states to reset the meaning of the text when the federal government (through the courts) perverted the Constitution. This person would deny the people of the states to use the lawful and Constitutional tool to self govern.
It is only logical that if one opposes the use of the 2nd mode....that they are standing with those that hold the 1st mode.
Their actions betray their words.
They stand with the Leviathan over the states.

Monday, September 5, 2016

A Convention of States - Part 2 Answering the "Runaway Convention" and other Arguments

I’d like to continue today with a couple of the other most oft heard arguments opposing the process given to us by the framers in order for the people of the states to respond to an out of control federal government. One of these is a bit more complex so if you really want to understand, please read all the way through and bear with me.
(1) One of the other arguments goes like this….they tell you that an Article V Convention will be a “runaway convention”, that the commissioners to such a convention will destroy the Constitution. They base this on their absolutely historically inaccurate understanding of the Philadelphia Convention of 1787. As a matter of fact my use of the word “understanding” in my above statement is being overly generous. What those that make this argument have is anything but an “understanding”.
They claim that the Constitutional Convention of 1787 was a “runaway convention”. They claim that the men who gave us our great Constitution somehow did something wrong at that convention. The ironic thing is that this view actually started with the left in the mid 50s and 60s….part of their attempt to scare the states away taking up their powers under Article V. That fact aside, wouldn’t that then make our Constitution illegal? If those men did disobey their charge at Philadelphia, wouldn’t that make them less than honorable?
They don’t explain those inconsistencies because the “runaway convention” myth of 1787 is nothing more than the biggest historical lie ever told in our nation’s history. The truth of the matter for anyone wanting to do just a little historical research is that those men completely OBEYED their charge and amended the Articles of Confederation to meet what they called the “exigencies” of the union….or the emergency in the union. I cannot tell you how many times I have had someone tell me that “they were just supposed to amend the Articles of Confederation”. Then I ask them where they got that from…and they tell me someone else told them that.
James Madison in Federalist #40 tells us exactly what the commissioners to Philadelphia were charged to do….they were charged to “devise such further provisions as shall appear to them necessary to render the Constitution [Articles of Confederation] of the federal government adequate to the exigencies of the Union”. The fact of the matter is that they were given broad latitude to save a young nation that was in grave danger due to the failure of the Articles of Confederation. And by the way, logic tells us that if you make one amendment or 500 amendments, you still amended the document. My youngest daughter understood that when I asked her that question one day. If you make one amendment or many, didn’t you still “amend” it?
No my dear fellow Convention of States patriots, every time you hear the argument that an Article V Convention of States will “runaway” because the Constitutional Convention of 1787 ran away, I want you to realize that to take that position, you have to trash the founders. You have to call James Madison a liar for what he wrote in Federalist #40 where he explains in simple terms what happened in that convention. The fearmongers simply cannot have it both ways, either they were honorable men that did their duty and gave us our great Constitution, or they were charlatans that disobeyed their commissions. I for one….will stand with the founders and their integrity.
(2) One other argument put forth…this one specifically is used by the John Birch Society and by Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum. They tell you about a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court that said an Article V Convention of States is a bad or dangerous idea….they don’t tell you that this same Justice, Warren Burger, was the man that presided over and was part of the 7 member majority in the famous Roe V Wade case that has given us 60 million dead babies. Why don’t they tell you that? Is it because they figure you will put two and two together? That you will realize that logically, one of the most left wing and activist justices in our nation history would not be supportive of any effort that would STRIP HIM OF HIS POWER! So they keep that little sordid and horrific tidbit from you.

A Convention of States - Part 1 Answering the "They're not following it now" Argument

The following is often heard as a reason to oppose the Convention of States Project: "They are not following the Constitution today, so what makes you think they will follow any amendments?"
While this sounds good on the surface, and the questioner often has an arrogant look of "gotcha" on his/her face....(trust me on this one, I've been out speaking and presenting the COS Project for almost three years...and this never fails to occur just as I have described it). However, this question fails the test of honest intellectual scrutiny. As a matter of fact, that statement/argument fails that test miserably.
(1) It is simply not true that ALL of the Constitution is being ignored...that simply is a falsehood perpetrated by people that either will not think for themselves or people that are disingenuous. I ask those people one simple question: "Why have we not had a President since FDR serve more than two terms"? This usually leaves a puzzled look on their faces.....but the answer is simple....because the Congress and the Courts ARE following the 22nd Amendment to the United States Constitution....they are following that amendment to the letter today. I could also ask why women still get to vote every election? Again this would draw a puzzled look....the answer is that Congress and the Courts ARE following the 19th Amendment to the Constitution to the letter today. I could do this over and over again with ALL of the modern amendments (Post 14th)....ALL of those amendments are followed to the letter. The reason is that there has not been enough time to twist and pervert many of those (or the will to do so).
(2) Although no one would agree with the crux of that statement more than I would (I teach Constitutional Law and Original Intent), the question betrays a deep ignorance of HOW and WHY much of the Constitution is ignored today. The courts are operating off of the decades of twisted and perverted interpretations of the original text of the body of the Constitution. If you were to ask any of the 535 members of the United States Congress why they ignore the Constitution, none are going to agree with you that they ignore it, they are going to point across the street to the United States Supreme Court and tell you that the SCOTUS tells them that what they are doing is Constitutional. Hence we have a problem with the current interpretation of what they are using. They are following the modern interpretation (albeit twisted) of the Constitution. There is no question that new amendments today can be used to "re-calibrate" the interpretation of areas that are the most abused due to twisted interpretations.